This was on Allan Gibbon’s blog today:
“Maybe the main trade unions and professional associations could give consideration to funding a challenge to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s disastrous policy of non-intervention. Present Culture Minister Ed Vaizey famously slammed the then Secretary of State Andy Burnham for non intervention. Now he is making it an article of faith of his own time at the DCMS. The organisations might want to obtain an initial opinion on the prospects of success from one of the larger firms of union solicitors.” Thinking out loud: A national legal challenge?

417 libraries (326 buildings and 91 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK, complete list below.  The librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries could be under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day.

Actions you can take

News

  • Don’t sneer if a Big Mac encourages reading – Independent (Terence Blacker).  Yet the real tough choices are not for Tories – toughness is part of their marketing package, after all – but for decent, good-hearted liberals living in difficult times.”… “The McDonald’s chain is aggressively marketing its £2.20 Happy Meals by offering free books, nine million of them, as incentives.”
“Local councils are closing libraries. The minister responsible, Ed Vaizey, is being utterly feeble. Bookshops are losing their place on the High Street. It is children in relatively deprived areas who are paying the highest price, slipping into a world in which the imagination never extends beyond a computer game. Where are these readers most likely to be found? Scoffing Happy Meals, of course. If a hard-eyed corporation cleverly exploits the fact that children are being deprived of all that books and stories offer, then to oppose it, from a position of privilege, is hypocritical and snobbish.” 

  • Libraries: where does the future lay? – Winstonsdad’s Blog.   “… we maybe need some new ideas like shops having libraries or communities banding together ,with uk literacy at 99% but the truth is one in five people have trouble reading .We need free access to books for the most of the population so even if they don’t want to read I m not a dreamer but if  they are there people have the chance to access them and borrow a book !!”.  

Changes

Local News

  • Brighton and Hove – Mobile library to be scrapped – BBC.  Geoffrey Bowden, the cabinet member for culture, said keeping the libraries open was an “important victory”. Mr Bowden said the mobile library was expensive to maintain and would cost more than £120,000 to replace. A consultation on changes to the library service begins on Monday and lasts until 10 February.”
  • Brighton mobile library closure hits vulnerable – Argus.    “The cabinet wants to save £62,000 a year by stopping the service completely. It is used by 865 people.According to cabinet member for culture, recreation and tourism, Geoffrey Bowden it would cost in excess of £120,000 to replace the vehicle.”
  • Calderdale – Village library saved by community group – Halifax Courier.  “The decision to move the library between Calderdale Council and Bailiff Bridge Community Association has prevented the library from potentially closing as part of the budget cuts and could even result in longer opening hours.”
  • Croydon – Is selling off library books ready for privatisation – Inside Croydon.  Yet moves are already well advanced to close the branch library on Central Parade, New Addington, with Bashford – not for the first time – contradicting her own statements by confirming the plans to move some of the branch’s books into the CALAT building, where the book shelves will share space with adult education and job centre advice services. Town Hall sources suggest that New Addington’s library may occupy no more than the foyer of the CALAT building.” … ““We do not know what the square footage available will be in comparison with the library,” Bashford said, confirming that this may not be the best thought-out piece of council work ever undertaken.”.  Bookstock appears to being cut in many branches.
  • Lancashire – Brierfield Library to close for £500,000 facelift – Pendle Today.  “County Coun. Mike Calvert, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for adult and community services, said: “Unlike many other councils, we are not closing any of our libraries. “In fact we are continuing to invest in the service wherever we can. This will help to ensure our libraries not only remain open but provide modern, flexible resources, fit for the 21st Century.”
  • North Somerset – Council plans for library cash cuts unveiled – Mercury 24.  Several community libraries will be open up to eight hours less a week, while Banwell will see its facility close, as recommended in 2009.”… ““We want to continue to provide library services to communities that currently get them. For us to do this we are proposing some changes to opening hours and different ways of working, but this is better than closing libraries completely.””
  • Nailsea library opens for less hours – Nailsea People.   “Self-service terminals could also be introduced in most libraries and the local community involved. The council has to save a total of £47.3m.”
  • North Yorkshire – Library hours cuts debated – Wetherby News.   Sherburn-in-Elmet and Tadcaster libraries may have hours cut after consultation. 
  • Shropshire – Library homework clubs face the axe – Shropshire Star.   Government funding for homework clubs removed so clubs likely to close in March.  “Between 150 and 180 families get vital help from four after-school homework clubs based at libraries in Harlescott in Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Market Drayton and Craven Arms. Three of the clubs were launched in 2004 with Oswestry opening a couple of years ago.”.  Clubs cost £20k per year.
“The benefits of library homework clubs are well documented. Not every child wants to remain in school after hours, especially where there are issues such as bullying or peer pressure.  “The clubs take place in a safe, neutral environment and offer mentoring and emotional support as well as homework help. Parents are able to discuss their children’s progress in an informal, non-judgmental environment.”

  • Westminster – Grammar guide is most borrowed book in Westminster – London 24.  “But while the great and the good of the literary world celebrate their success, it is the lesser-known Martin Hewings who takes the ultimate crown as the author who sits atop Westminster libraries’ lending pile. An honorary research fellow at the University of Birmingham, Mr Hewings has seen his English study and reference book, Advanced Grammar In Use, checked out and renewed 783 times over the past year.”